Confederate Flags Banned at Three Pennsylvania Schools!

Three high schools within our Commonwealth have made the misguided decision to ban the Confederate flag. I encourage all members of the Pennsylvania Division, the SCV, the larger Southern heritage community and all lovers of the liberties and rights protected by the Constitution of the United States to contact these schools and encourage them to change their policy regarding our venerable symbols.

The issue of the display of Confederate symbols is often one that is emotionally charged. These venerable symbols of one side of the most defining struggles of this country's history have become abused by a tiny minority of crackpots who also defame the flag of this great nation and the symbols of Christianity. Those of us who revere Confederate symbols for the historical value and expression of heritage they represent, join with all good and decent Americans in the abhorrence of the actions and beliefs of those misguided people.

We would not ban our children from displaying 'Old Glory' or from being able to wear a cross while in school, despite the fact that those who spread hate do so under those symbols. We should also not ban Confederate symbols indiscriminately simply because they too are used by those same lunatics. Within our schools, we must make sure not only that our children are safe, but also that they learn to become good citizens of this nation.

The children of today are indeed the leaders of tomorrow and the educators of the next generation. We cannot allow them to become a new generation of bigots or excuse-makers nor can we teach them that silencing the free expression of ideas is the solution to avoiding or resolving conflict. The answer is not less speech, but rather more and better directed speech. Let them speak their minds and then correct their misconceptions. Let them express themselves, but then punish those who abuse that privilege on a case by case basis.

It is not really a matter of free speech, racial tension, methods of punishment or any of the other causes and outcomes. It is, above all, a matter of education. What lesson will you teach these children? Will it be a lesson that helps them learn how to work together to solve problems or a lesson that teaches them to ban free expression and bury their misconceptions in public, letting them fester into a new wave of bigotry?

Those few students who abuse these symbols to spread a message of hate should be dealt with firmly, as we cannot allow that behavior to stand in our schools. Equally, those who display these symbols for historical or heritage reasons should not be banned from that expression simply for the misdeeds and abuses of others. We would not ban Islamic children from displaying the Crescent simply because some deranged foreign terrorists abuse it for their purposes. We should not ban the Southern Cross simply because some deranged domestic terrorists abuse it for their purposes.

A school is a place of learning, not a place for the suppression of ideas. It is the duty of our educators to teach our children and not to enforce stereotypes of any kind against any group of people or any symbols. If we all work together and have free and open dialog, without prejudging anyone or anything, we can learn to overcome the lingering social problems of this nation; problems that often are left undealt with in the name of avoiding conflict. That is not the answer and all the lessons of history teach us that banning an idea, a symbol or a group does not eliminate the problem; it strengthens it. Education and equality are the solution. We should expect no less in our schools.

Please contact these schools and express your feelings about this issue: